US actor George Clooney (R) and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian lay flowers at the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan on April 24, 2016. / AFP / KAREN MINASYAN
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Hollywood star and rights advocate George Clooney Sunday led thousands of Armenians on a march to a hilltop memorial in Yerevan to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the World War I-era Armenian genocide.Clooney and the French singer of Armenian origin Charles Aznavour joined President Serzh Sarkisian and thousands of Armenians to lay flowers at the eternal flame at the imposing Tsitsernakaberd memorial as requiem services for the victims were held in churches across the country.Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed during World War I as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart, a claim supported by many other countries.Turkey fiercely rejects the genocide label, arguing that 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops.Earlier this month, fierce clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in Karabakh claimed the lives of more than 100 people from all sides.
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